February 26, 2011
He is the icon now of Philippines Marathon and considered as the most successful runner-entrepreneur who made the roads of Manila as the running circuit fad for the past 3 years now. Coach Rio is indeed a running legend! Good luck to your 2016 Olympics Goal!
About Coach Rio:
Running coach Rio dela Cruz has, indeed, covered a long, long distance.
His is a classic rags to riches story, fit even for an episode of Maalala Mo Kaya, as he claims.
First finding joy in traditional Pinoy street games where he had his first encounter with the sport that has made a great impact in his life, Rio today is the local running god, being looked up to by every runnier worth his trainers. He’s even dubbed as the country’s maestro of running events, his events company the most sought after in organizing world-class races in the country.
A native of Bato, Camarines Sur, Rio is the youngest of 14 children – seven full-blooded siblings, while the rest are half siblings. At nine months old, his mother left them and it was his father who raised the brood. Young Rio and his family moved to Manila where he continued his studies. He had to endure the daily two- to three-kilometer walk from their house in the slums to the school with only a one peso allowance and an occasional two peso bonus for every star he got from his teachers.
At 12 years old, Rio showed that he was a child running prodigy when he beat everyone in the school tryout running barefoot on his first spur-of-the-moment attempt at joining his school’s track team. Realizing his potential, the coach signed Rio up for several events including the 50-meter and 100-meter sprint, long jump and high jump. He bagged first place and was hailed the champion in all his events.
A neighbor took pity on this barefoot runner and gave him a pair of Mighty Kids a tad too small. “I had to cut the toe end open so I could use it,’’ Rio recalls. From his eventual winnings in different marathons, Rio was able to save up for a pair of Chuck Taylors.
Many years and kilometers later, Coach Rio is now known as the running guru, sharing his science-based approach to training, backed by two decades worth of experience as a competitive athlete. He also offers one-on-one coaching sessions and organizes run clinics.
More stories of him @
The Running Man
By ANGELO GARCIA, RONALD S. LIM, INA H. MALIPOT and JASER A. MARASIGAN